We call for urgent investigation into the BBC's governance and leadership.
In November last year, following complaints of unacceptable Muslim bias and the deliberate marginalization of Christianity by its Muslim Head of Religion and Ethics, Aaqil Ahmed, the BBC announced that it was axing both the role of Head and the department of religion, bringing all religious programming and coverage under the remit of former Labour MP James Purnell, the head of radio and education.
However, on February 25, the BBC quietly announced that it had appointed another Muslim, Fatima Salaria, as its new Head of Religious Programming.
It would seem therefore that, in clear disregard of their earlier statement, the BBC has not only resurrected this role, but appears to be operating a policy of Islamic prioritization, once again ignoring the pleas of all other religious groups in the UK for proportionate and fair representation.
Ms Salaria’s most notable achievement since joining the BBC in 2015 would appear to have been to commission the TV reality show Muslims like Us, described in the press as ‘Muslim Big Brother’. It may be remembered that in this programme, among the ten Muslim housemates - chosen to reflect the diverse views of Muslims in the UK - was included Abdul Haqq, a Muslim convert, former boxing champion, convicted fraudster … and member of the inner circle of jailed radical cleric Anjem Choudary. But it gets worse, because Mr Haqq reportedly not only supported banned terror group Al-Muhajiroun, but was arrested in 2014 in Dover, and later charged with plotting to go to Syria to fight with Islamic State after spreading terrorist material online.
His inclusion, put forward without comment as merely one view among many, can only have served to ‘normalise’ extremism, and is an affront to all - including moderate Muslims honestly striving to integrate into British culture.
Do we really want someone who commissions programmes like this as head of religion for the BBC? Do we trust her to give proportionate and fair representation to all religious groups? Do we trust the BBC? Or do we share the view of Professor Anthony Glees of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, who told The Mail: “If a BBC executive makes a programme that is notorious and then the BBC promotes them, it tells me that the BBC has in that area lost its moral compass.” (http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/muslim-in-charge-of-bbc-religious-show...).
Ms Salaria is on record as saying the BBC needs to give greater voice to Muslims. It is a view that seems to have been swallowed hook, line, and sinker by dementedly ‘diverse’ Auntie, who seemingly takes every opportunity to undermine and pour derision on those who espouse the traditional Christian beliefs and values upon which our nation is founded. But exactly what voice does Ms Salaria class as authentically ‘Muslim’ and wish to be heard? After all, from the example of Abdul Haqq, she appears to have no problem supporting what the rest of us call extremism.
It goes without saying that there is religious diversity in this country, and all faiths should receive proportionate coverage. But Christianity remains the established faith of the UK and, despite declining church attendance, according to the 2011 census Christians still make up 59.5% of the population (https://faithsurvey.co.uk/uk-christianity.html): a clear majority. Given therefore that Christianity is the main faith of this country, surely the head of religious programming should be Christian - or at the very least, as advocated by Conservative MP Bill Cash, the post should be rotated between the different faiths. Which should include Judaism, Hinduism and Sikkhism … as well as Islam.
As it is, this new appointment seems deliberately insulting both to Christians and to followers of other belief systems, and part of an orchestrated attempt to Islamise the UK. Such an attitude displays not just contempt, but is a betrayal of the principles and values on which the UK is founded. For these reasons VfJUK joins those who argue that the BBC is no longer fit for purpose. We call for urgent investigation into the Corporation’s governance and purpose, and for review of the licence fee.
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Petition to: To the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP - Secretary for State for Culture - Media and Sport.